Authority of Scripture
Scripture as the word of God is foundational to my faith based belief system. As with any faith based belief system, the heart of the matter is what constitutes one’s faith and upon what basis one has that faith. Faith that yields sound theology has as its basis the authority of Scripture, where the authority of Scripture means that all the words of Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.
Throughout history, God has sought to influence the faith of man through the miraculous demonstrations of His power to control the natural in our world. Here are three examples from among countless faith building biblical miracles:
Exodus 14:21,22 21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters divided. 22And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Judges 6:36-40 36Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38And it was so. We he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.
39Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.
Acts 2:22-24 & 41-43 22“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know – 23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed at the hands of lawless men. 24God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it is not possible for him to be held by it.”
41So those who received his (Peter) word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42And they devoted themselves to the apostles (the twelve disciples of Jesus) teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.
Regarding then faith in the authority of Scripture – that is, that God has indeed spoken to us through Scripture and His words are true – it is reasonable to ask, “Where are our faith building miracles today convicting us that God has spoken to us through the Word?” To this I would answer:
- The miracle of creation – the reality of God by what he has made.
Romans 1:19,20 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God 20has shown it to them…in the things that have been made…
- The miracle of Scripture itself – its history, its fullness, God’s self-revelation through it.
Deuteronomy 4:39 39Know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
- The miracle of Jesus in prophecy – the Word fulfilled.
Psalm 22:1-18 1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?…7All who see me mock me…14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint;…16a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet…18they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
- The miracle of Spiritual indwelling – our counselor in the Word.
Acts 2:38,39 38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for…everyone whom the Lord God calls to himself.
Jesus, understanding the weakness of man, sought that we believe in Him with a faith based upon the witness of word and deed but sealed His claim upon our faith through miracles.
John 4:48 48So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.
John 10:38 38If I am not doing the works (miracles) of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father
John 20:27-29 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus also made the case, much like the reality of God by what he has made, that men of his day were without excuse regarding Him because they had seen His works.
John 15:24 24If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.
It is reasonable and proper to apply a similar ‘works’ standard to faith in Scripture and its authority. We have seen the ‘works’ through Scripture and now that we have seen we are convicted in the Word….or we sin.
With Scripture credited to us by ‘works’, that is by miracles, we are now also convicted into its authority. As God spoke and the heavens and the earth were created, so also He speaks through His Word and we believe.
See Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine, Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999), page 33